Rash of crashes heightens awareness of motorcycle safety

Rash of crashes heightens awareness of motorcycle safety »Play Video

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) - After two fatal motorcycle crashes in the last two weeks, law officers are urging drivers and riders to be aware. 

“Motorcycles are smaller and can easily be hidden in cars’ blind spots,” says Tim Buche, president of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.

In late June, Shawna Elaine Throneberry was killed in a crash after a car turned in front of her motorcycle at the intersection of Real Road and Wood Lane. The driver said she never saw her. 

On Tuesday, Hugo Armando Montiel was killed when a truck turned in front of his motorcycle.

“It was my understanding that the gentleman that was killed, he did everything he could. I mean, he identified the hazard and tried to lay the bike down and get out of the way. Unfortunately, it ended in tragedy,” said Ben Patten, an avid rider and manager of Bakersfield Harley-Davidson.

Mark Welch, who has been riding for almost 50 years, said if one or both parties are paying attention, they can usually avoid the crash. He was in an accident back in 2003, which he believes if he had been paying closer attention it could’ve been avoided. 

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has trained more than 7 million riders in California since 1974. It offers rider basic-safety classes and also encourages the use of protective gear and riding defensively. 

“Drivers should expect to see motorcyclists. It’s true that we’re smaller, but we deserve just as much space in the lane as other vehicles,” said Buche.